Quoting Quiverfull: Bad Attitude Causes Chronic Illness?

Quoting Quiverfull: Bad Attitude Causes Chronic Illness? April 3, 2013

by Pat Robertson on The 700 Club – April 2, 2013

“The first thing you’ve got to get straight is that what’s happening to you isn’t necessarily ‘God’s plan’ for you,” Robertson said in response, looking into the camera. “What is it Shakespeare said? ‘The fault, dear Brutus, is not with the stars, but with ourselves’? This stuff, maybe the problems you have come from your attitude.”

Chronic illness, Robertson said, can result from psychosomatic issues.

“I don’t want to make a broad statement, because doctors say there’s other things. Of course there are,” he continued. “But it just sounds like that you’ve got a negative attitude. You oughta be positive. You oughta praise the Lord.”

Robertson then recited Proverbs 17:22, saying, “a merry heart doeth good like medicine.” Literally speaking into the world around oneself, he continued, changed the world around a person.

“If you speak negatively you will have negative [consequences],” he said. “So don’t say it’s ‘God’s plan.’ I think that’s a misnomer.”

Comments open below

QUOTING QUIVERFULL is a regular feature of NLQ – we present the actual words of noted Quiverfull leaders and ask our readers: What do you think? Agree? Disagree? This is the place to state your opinion. Please, let’s keep it respectful – but at the same time, we encourage readers to examine the ideas of Quiverfull honestly and thoughtfully.

NLQ Recommended Reading …

Breaking Their Will: Shedding Light on Religious Child Maltreatment‘ by Janet Heimlich

Quivering Daughters‘ by Hillary McFarland

Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement‘ by Kathryn Joyce


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  • texcee

    Okay, in this case, I do have to sorta agree with ol’ Pat. A bad attitude, i.e., chronic anger, i.e., chronic stress, absolutely will affect your health. Physiologically, it keeps adrenalin pumping into your system, something that should not happen except in crisis situations, whether it’s keeping your toddler from reaching for a hot pan on the stove or slamming on the brakes to prevent a crash. This constant flow of adrenalin seriously impacts your organs and other hormonal levels. If you have diabetes (as I do), it can lead to elevated glucose levels as well as hypertension. Letting go of anger and learning to be at peace is necessary for good health.

  • SAO

    On the other hand, plenty of people have chronic disease as a result of bad luck or bad genes and no amount of attitude adjustment will change that. I have a friend with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. The last thing she needs is someone suggesting that if she had more faith or prayed harder, it would magically disappear.

  • texcee

    I agree completely with you. I don’t believe in faith healing or prayer. I have diabetes and several connected medical problems for which I must inject insulin 2-3 times a day plus take a handful of pills every morning. However, lowering my stress level helps tremendously. Vice versa, high stress can exacerbate medical problems. Last year, my mother was slowly but steadily going downhill and finally died after 7 months of declining health. She was in the hospital, rehab or nursing homes during that entire time. My stress level was so constantly high during that time that my diabetes went out of control and the doctor said my pancreas had shut down, which is when I had to start taking insulin. Since Mom died and my life has settled down to the usual dull roar, I’ve been managing to regain some health, serenity and vigor.

  • According to Pat Robertson, your diabetes would have been under control if you’d simply chosen to praise the lord instead of experiencing stress. The fact that you experienced stress is evidence of your bad attitude. See? You had to go on insulin because of your own bad attitude.

    (According to Pat. Some other people think it’s more complicated than that.)

  • Hedgehog

    Thats why my happy and positive gramma has bloodpresure and backproplems…. Wait?

  • madame

    It’s the word “attitude” that bothers me. It implies blame. You can change your attitude and nobody around you has to do anything different. Indeed, you can even stay in the situation and not experience distress if you just changed your attitude. To say “your stress/anger is making you sick”, opens a door to see what can be done to relieve the stress, including removing oneself from a stressful situation. Both stress and anger are responses to stimuli. One’s attitude can change the way we respond to certain stimuli. If you say “your attitude is making you sick”, you are expecting the person who is experiencing stress and suffering to just snap out of it.

  • gimpi

    Attitude can affect the SYMPTOMS of a chronic disease, but not bring it on. As texcee stated, the stress of a mother’s illness worsened symptoms of diabetes. It didn’t cause the condition. Also, texcee is certainly not at fault for being stressed out by the situation described. Most of us would be undone by the slow death of a parent.
    Many chronic diseases are made worse by the slings and arrows of fortune. Sick people don’t get a pass from layoffs, overwhelming debt, or marital trouble. In fact, sickness can make all those problems worse as employers seek to shed an employee who has high insurance costs, medical and other bills mount, and a spouse’s patience is tried.
    The problem with Mr. Robertson’s statements is that they imply blame. If you have diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, chronic fatigue syndrome, you are somehow at fault, just not as spiritually fit as someone who is in better health. It’s just another round of victim-blaming from Mr. “Haitians long ago made a pact with Satan, that’s why the earthquake happened” Robertson. In retrospect, I guess we shouldn’t be surprised.

  • Mary

    You know what bothers me way more than the “its your attitude” comment? The idea that sometimes things happen because “god has a plan for you,” but other times – especially if those times are bad – god cannot be held responsible. It drives me nuts that people will give their god all the credit and themselves (or other people) all the blame. If humans are powerful enough that their grumpy mood alone could throw god’s plan off course, then either 1)god isn’t all that great after all, or 2)the grumpy mood IS part of the plan. You really can’t have it both ways, but Pat Robertson (and countless others) sure are trying.